Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Gloucestershire, UK: Cotswold Airport Fire crew given award for pilot rescue

Courageous firefighters from Cotswold Airport have been given an award by a leading fire training center for saving the life of a pilot after his a plane crashed and exploded in a ball of fire. 

They have received an International Fire Training Centre Special Achievement award for pulling Belgian stunt pilot Tony De Bruyn from the burning wreckage of his plane. He was practicing a loop-the-loop in July 2012 when his plane hit the ground and skidded 1,000ft across the runway.

Paul Coomber, senior airfield fire officer, who helped pulled Tony from the plane, said: “It is nice to be recognized for a job well done by everybody, really. It was all hands to the pumps. Everyone had a part to play.”

The award is given as recognition to an individual or organization within the aviation fire-fighting community.

Dennis Perkins, director of training at the IFTC, said: “The International Fire Training Center wanted to commend their quick thinking and professional response to a potentially dangerous situation; their swift action no doubt saved the life of Mr De Bruyn.” 


Cotswold Airport Fire crew stood infront of a fire vehicle that was used in rescue

Mr.  De Bruyn (right) spent two months in Frenchay Hospital's burns unit after the crash 

North American OV-10B Bronco,  Bronco Demo Team,  G-BZGK

Location: Cotswold (Kemble) Airport, Gloucestershire
Date of occurrence: 10 July 2012

The pilot was performing a display practice during which he attempted a barrel roll. Approaching the inverted position, at the top of the manoeuvre, the nose of the aircraft dropped below the horizon and the aircraft entered a steep descent. The pilot had reduced the rate of roll, thinking that it was too fast, but the aircraft continued to pitch through the vertical. The aircraft struck the ground in an approximately wings level, upright attitude with a high rate of descent. There was an immediate post-impact fire but the RFFS were on standby and reached the aircraft rapidly. The pilot was assisted from the aircraft having suffered serious injuries.

The investigation identified areas of concern in the granting of regulatory approvals and authorisations, and subsequent related audits. Four Safety Recommendations are made.